Medical Photography – it’s exactly as much fun as it sounds.

I’m not hugely keen on having my photo taken. I’ve got better since phones got clever and I can delete 8674587 pics before finally getting an acceptable selfie to use on Facebook. I downloaded Snapchat purely to filter photos, many of my friends did the same. We’re all on there and never, ever, ‘snap’ each other, it’s solely to delete the wrinkles. Kids, you’re safe, Generation X can’t be arsed to learn more social media. We’re all over Facebook, some of us (but not me) get Twitter, but Snapchat is a step too far. We’re just deleting a decade or two.

I’ve had my one year check. It wasn’t the big event I’d built myself up for. It was on the 27th of December and I was the only customer there. Breast screening clinics are normally packed, rivalling Day 1 of a John Lewis sale for crowds and queues. I think it might actually have been Day 1 of the John Lewis sale…Wow, did everyone prioritise discounted bedding over …you know…survival??? Oh well, result! I’m in. Maybe not my finest moment, compassion-wise.

I bit back the snark when asked if I was having my right breast screened. I know, I’m mean and the technician had drawn the short straw and was working Christmas week. But, seriously? I’m stood there, stripped to the waist…and there quite clearly is only one boob. If she was going to try screening the left one we’d still be there. I didn’t snark, I answered politely and manoeuvred myself into position. Fucking “OUCH!”. “Oh, sorry. It’s a new machine and I’m not used to the controls”.  You’d have been impressed, I still didn’t snark, “And you didn’t practise on a freaking melon first??”. Looking back at this I can only think the Christmas spirit was strong last year…and therefore I was still a bit pissed. It’s lucky I’m a happy drunk.

Turned out that whilst the technician had to work Christmas week, no other bugger did. “They’ll review the scan and you’ll get a letter”. Not quite how I’d imagined that one year milestone going (party poppers and champagne at the very least!). No nice reassuring chat with a Dr pointing out the lack of lumps in the scan, bet he was in bloody JL snapping up some bargain bedding.

I got a letter and the scan was clear. I can’t add anything to that, it’s all anyone wants to read. Excuse whilst I do yet another happy dance about that.

That meant it was time to talk reconstruction. I was a bit surprised that my waiting room companions didn’t seem to be possible New Boob candidates. There was an elderly gentleman who hobbled in, and a beautiful little girl of around 6. I’m adjusting my thoughts that plastic surgeons are artists specialising in specific areas and now thinking they’re more like car bodyshops where they bash out the dents and spray over the damage.

The bodyshop surgeon was lovely. He didn’t even flinch (and I do look a bit like I only just survived a fight with Jaws right now). He referred me to Medical Photography, and circled the boobs and belly areas on the appointment card. I have no idea what the photos are for, no-one has shown me any before and afters.

Medical Photography can’t be that common, because no fucker at the reception desk knew where it was. Strongly suspect they know full well where it is but find watching panicky people run amusing. Bastards.

Here’s the full horror. Medical Photography is exactly like professional photography. A room with one wall covered by a huge white backdrop screen with powerful lights trained on the poor fucker that side of the lens…and you have to remove all clothing apart from your pants and socks. Pants and fucking socks??? I’m down one boob, I’ve been eating for GB (purely to ensure sufficient tummy fat to create new boob), I look like I pissed off a Hollywood shark (an actual watery shark with teeth) and you’re giving me white screen and bright lights for a pants and socks photoshoot?

My Gryffindor socks came through. I didn’t run and I didn’t hide.

I seriously hope the camera was focussed on my feet and not my face.

How fucking awesome that I’m still here to worry about being vain?

The One Where I Forgot My Log In.

Someone much brighter than me pointed out I can copy the FB post to here……

I think I’m going to give up on catching up, I can’t remember the order in which things have happened since lunchtime so the chances of my memory dragging up anything from August are pretty slim. Much, much, slimmer than me. It was never steroids and water retention. It was, as suspected, cake and cheese retention. It’s still here, it seems to suffer from separation anxiety and is not keen on fucking off. And now Asda have 6 bottles of wine for £25 and cheesey footballs on offer.

I also can’t remember my log in for word press, and can’t be arsed retrieving my password. FB is easier. I can log to WP on my phone but my festively plump fingers struggle with typing on that, then autocorrect just makes shit up.

I’m trying to distract myself from making decisions. Next week I go to see the plastics people. The ones who will put me back together after all the remedial works I had done earlier this year. Whilst I am extremely grateful that the necessary was done, I am left looking like a human version of a botched house on DIY SOS. Or, the doll people from the Lenor adverts. The patchwork ones? I have to decide what size boobs I want. That sounds like one of the best choices in the world but it’s not that easy.

I’m thinking smaller, much smaller. There’s a pic taken of me last week where I’m looking decidedly matronly. There’s a tipping point somewhere, where being curvy takes you from being like Barbara Windsor to Hattie Jacques, and the first you know of it is a photo. Where the fuck did this ‘shelf’ come from? Half of it isn’t even attached to me and is defying gravity just to keep up with it’s neighbour.

If I go smaller though, my bottom half will look even larger, with my skinny top half sneering at it. I wonder just how much fat they’re prepared to remove. See? It’s not easy. I’m tempted to take in a photo of Kylie and ask if they can do that. She had breast cancer too, we’re very similar. I’m just worried they tell me that Madge Bishop is the closest they can get me.

Then, drumroll please. It’s my one year check at the end of Dec. This is freaking me out and I don’t know why. Well, that’s crap. I do know why, I’m terrified they find something. I’m more scared of this than I was heading into surgery or chemo. That was all to fix a problem, this is looking to see if the problem went away. What if it…No. I can’t even type that. Five minutes of fear then get on with it. I really am a head-in-the-sand type. Well, head in the sand or in a glass of red. Either works.

My children are being at brilliant at distracting me too. One of them broke his hip in a spectacular crash from the monkey bars. He’s currently ‘walking’ up and downstairs using only his hands on the bannisters. I can’t watch. I can’t even shout at him for fear of making him fall. If he falls again his Dad can take him to hospital and explain, I did it last time.

The other one is playing the least fun game ever of how-many-clothes-can-I-lose-or-rip-in-one-term. I would not be at all surprised to find him at the school gates in nothing but shorts and looking bemused at my rage. Nothing bothers that one, nothing related to school uniform anyway.

And…the spaniel is back to peeing in the wetroom. I don’t think she likes the cold.

Send gin. And domestos.

Get me to the wedding on time.

I’m just going to pretend there has been no huge gap since my last post, we’ll just carry on like nothing happened and catch up eventually. OK?

I’m applying the same logic to the state of my house and size of my ironing pile.

The Wedding.  We, The O’D’s, never EVER get to a wedding both on time and still speaking to each other. Sometimes we manage one, never both. I once missed a family wedding that I really wanted to go to, because I just wasn’t confident I wouldn’t throw my dinner at Pat.

One Thursday, in August (Shhh, we’re ignoring the gap – keep UP!), I had a bit of a day scheduled. Penultimate radiotherapy session first, dash (whilst not breaking any speed limits) to another hospital for a herceptin injection and then get home and get ready to see L & S get married.

Radio usually takes 15-20 minutes. 30 minutes later and I’m still lying on a fairly uncomfortable ‘bed’ and nothing is happening. People come in and measure up, deem everything satisfactory and disappear…then nothing fucking happens. 3 sodding times. Don’t they KNOW? I’ve got to get out of here, come on…ZAP!

“We’re having a problem with the machine”
No Shit! “Oh, can you fix it, or can we use another one? Can I come back some other time..add the session on to the end?” I don’t want to seem unreasonable, and normally I wouldn’t care…but not today, please not today. Oh Fuck, it’s the O’D wedding curse.

“The other machines are all booked up. Do you mind if we bring the IT guy in? He has to look at something behind that wall <waves vaguely behind my limited field of vision, since I’m still flat on my back>, we’ll cover you up. Is that ok?”

I’m married to an IT guy. If there’s some big techy problem no covering up is required, they won’t see people. Promise. They might even fall over naked people whilst heading towards the techy stuff. They will never fall over techy stuff.

“I have to be at a wedding this afternoon. I don’t care if you bring the entire IT dept in here. Please, just get it working. <pause> Have you tried switching it off and on again?”

Apparently I’m not as funny as I think I am. I was being bloody serious.

The machine eventually worked. I’m fairly sure they switched it off and on again. I was off that ‘bed’ and running before they’d lowered it back to ground level.

Thankfully the traffic was light and the needle worked faultlessly at the next hospital. I think the first hospital might have called ahead and warned them I was slightly stressed,  and getting me out of there as fast as possible would be wise. They sort of darted me and let me go.

Not long after and we’re all suited and booted and on our way to the wedding. Hurrah! Not having any hair to do takes quite a lot of stress out of getting ready. It’s only a matter of time before bald weddings catch on (no eyelashes also equals no running mascara – there are benefits).

I couldn’t work out why Pat was stressed. We were in the car, plenty of time to spare, T had called to warn that the motorway was closed due to rampaging sheep or something, so we had diverted. I could tell that he was still uptight though, the way my head kept bouncing off the window as we went round corners was a total giveaway. The boys were looking up from their phones and everything.

“What’s up? Why the rush?”
“We’re not going to make it in time, we’ve only got 10 minutes”
“Eh? The wedding isn’t until 3”
“No, 2:30. S told us”
Laughing “No, it’s 3. He told you that so we wouldn’t be late”

We got there on time, but not speaking to each other. I still think it was funny.

The wedding was everything a wedding should be. It was a fabulous day and night, surrounded by friends and family celebrating. We laughed and danced and partied hard. We forgot we were cross with each other and all the shite we’d dealt with over the past few months. You reminded us of what matters, and what we do, “for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward….”

Thank you Mr & Mrs B, for letting us share your day.

I did make my last radiotherapy session the following day. Pat drove me there as I was still a little wobbly, there was no jumping off the bed and running that day.

“Are you OK, what’s happened?”
“Wedding. Hungover. Shhhhhh….”

It is good to be getting back to normal.

Hello? Hello? Anyone there?

It’s been a while, have you got fed up and buggered off? I wouldn’t blame or judge you if you have. I couldn’t even remember what the last post was about, had to read it again, that’ll cause a burst of excitement from Facebook, they’ll be messaging me and advising me to ‘boost’ my post for a mere $20 and millions of people will flock to read PLaU. I did that once, and got a lot of people who seemed to want to be unicorns, I suspect they were very disappointed.

I’ve been quiet because I’ve been busy, and then I’ve been tired, and also because our pc is poorly. I have no idea what the diagnosis is (I was told but when he talks computer my brain goes lalalalalalala) but one symptom seems to be the keyboard is now dyslexic. It adds 150 extra characters in, it leaves the same number out. It’s bloody annoying. Pat gets cross with me when I get shouty with the pc, so it was easier just to play Pandapop.

I’ve waved goodbye to my oncologist for a few months, she is lovely but the less I see of her the better things are. She wrote me prescription for 10 years supply of Tamoxifen, that made the pharmacy gasp. We agreed on a monthly dispensing, that worked well since I hadn’t brought a truck and they didn’t have that many pills.

I cheerfully said goodbye to the nurse who came up with nuggets of wisdom about not sleeping under a duvet, or sticking one foot out from under the covers, if I’m too hot in bed. That made me laugh out loud, because my mind just works that way. She just gave me an odd look and put my reaction down to the onset of menopause I think. I think that because she then told me all the wonderful menopausal shite I have to look forward to. It was a good 20 minutes of gloom. I’m going to try really hard to not have any of the symptoms just to annoy her. I don’t think I will ever understand some people’s enthusiasm (there really is no other way to describe it) at setting out every damned thing that might go badly. It’s fucking annoying is what it is.

Fired up with a determination to prove her wrong on every count, and a load of things she didn’t even mention,  I stormed through the last chemo hangover. If it’s possible to storm from under a blanket on the sofa. Then I went on a hen weekend.

This hen weekend had been my total focus of getting through chemo on schedule. I wanted it DONE, not halfway through or just one more. Done. I’ve been drinking juice made from vegetables only pigs have eaten prior to the last couple of years. Turns out we’ve been feeding pigs superfoods all this time. I can’t back that up, but did you see kale on any menu before 2015? I’ve been taking tablets open water swimmers use to stop them catching bugs.  (There is nothing in this world that would convince me to swim in the Thames now). Something worked, and I made to Lu’s Do having finished chemo.

It was FAB. We’d booked this Grand Designs type house, and some bits of that were a bit confusing (who the fuck invented a kettle that looks like a frigging tap?- I owe them blistered fingers), but the company was brilliant. We laughed, we danced, we drank….. lots. There was an olympic sized hot tub, if hot-tubbing was an Olympic event. I couldn’t go in as I’m not allowed in hot tubs. might have made that up as I really don’t like hot tubs, but it was reasonable excuse. Sorry you lot, I lied. But, if we do it all again next year I’m still not getting in. It felt so good to be out and partying again. Like life is getting back on track. That was Friday  night, Saturday night I had to go to bed early, turns out I’m not quite at full party fitness yet. No-one tell that nurse, ok?

I all my excitement at getting back to normal my lack of eyebrows was really pissing me off. You can wear a hat if being bald worries you but there’s not much you can do about your brows. I’m not much of a make up person, if I’d thought about it I’d have been pencilling them in long before they’d gone just so I knew where I was aiming at. Hindsight is always 20/20. Also, I don’t want to pencil anything in. I already have to remember to add a boob and hair/hat. Quite frankly I can’t be bloody arsed to have to add more bits before leaving the house. I just want everything where it ought to be, with minimal effort from me. If that sounds petulant, fine. I’m petulant.

Microblading! Move over garlic bread, microblading is the future. Thanks to Dawn at Sunrise in Marlow I have my brows back. They don’t look like fuzzy felt, I don’t have to pencil them in, they’re just there. Right where they ought to be, breaking up the dinner plate look I was not rocking before. (large white face, no definition). If you are having brow woes, you know what to do. Turns out I don’t need to wear anything on my head now, well I do on days like today when it was peeing down, as much of my self confidence returned with my brows, weird huh?  Don’t worry about the wig being neglected, she’s living the banana stand and is quite happy there. Now I just have to get to grips with gluing on some eyelashes…after a hen do comes the wedding…and there’s always some fucker with a camera.

I can’t type any more or I’ll throw this sodding keyboard at the screen, and that will really annoy Pat.

Capture

I got my sub-4…

OK, it wasn’t for running a marathon, just completing 6 sessions of chemo in under 4 months, but there were distinct similarities. The enthusiasm to Get This Done, along with a few moments of panic just before the start….”Oh shiiiiiit, can I? Should I? Am I really doing this?”. I could, I should and I did.

The first half (looking back, not in real time) was ok but keep in mind that looking back at events often gets rid of the shit bits and gets a bit rose-tinted if you got through it in one bit. Sessions 4 & 5 (miles 13-21 in my marathon speak) were hard. Come so far, so very far to go and that initial enthusiasm has worn off. It’s a bit of a no-man’s land. Grumpy seems to be my go-to emotion. No, I don’t want any more sodding sugary sweets, I want a bucket of red and a family size bag of crisps which are definitely not for sharing. Session 6 is mile 21-26, still grumpy but you know you’re going to finish. Crawling if needs be, but that finish line is yours. the .2 is getting hooked up for that last bag of clever chemicals to go in. When I got to the ward yesterday they were running 2 hours late! No chairs, and a queue. I pointed out a chair and the nurse said “Oh, but that’s one of the hard visitor chairs, all the treatment chairs are full. Do you really want to sit in that?”. “Hell, I’ll sit on your lap if it means we get this done faster, bring me the drugs”, at that point I’d have done laps of the hospital dragging my drip with me.

After weighing me the nurse seemed to think the hard chair was a better idea than her lap. Not daft those nurses.

I was maybe a bit bolshy but I’d already spent an hour arguing with Hotpoint that the new dishwasher they have failed to fix 4 times has clearly decided it doesn’t want to be a dishwasher, and could they just replace the fucking thing. I promise I kept the sweary words in my head, but I think they heard them anyway. “Model no.?”…REALLY? It’s not flagging up under ‘shit machine that belongs to the fat and bald emotional lady’? New machine is on the way, I hope it wants to wash dishes.  Teenage boys are willing enough to help, <snort, I can’t back that up>, but when you’re trying to avoid infections and bugs more than usual I’m just not that confident in their attention to detail. And…we have a sodding dishwasher for that very reason. Breathe Fi, breathe. It’s sorted now. Sparkle can return to my wine glass.

The delay in chemo meant school run was a close thing, Pat was tracking me the wonderful stalking app on our phones. That’s not scary, we’re so middle aged it’s a life-saver. We know which one of us is most likely to make it to school on time, or who is nearest a shop when there’s no wine left. Milk, when there’s no milk left. Or poppadoms. I made it to school, dashed home so the dogs could pee outside and not on the wetroom floor. It’s only one of them that does that to be fair, the other two glare at her in disgust, they have control. Merry spent a horrible first 5 years stuck in a puppy farm barn, I’m happy to excuse her accidents, she had a very late start to house training, and cuddles, and love, and every other thing a dog deserves. I detest puppy farms. No puddles though, well done Merry.

We then had to dash to the radiology appt. The essential machines aren’t in every hospital. My possessed sat nav kept circling the general area but refused to be pinned down on which way to finally go. Fuck it…late again. Flip flops are the most ridiculous footwear to try and run in. Slap slap slap along echoey corridors. The security camera footage better not end up on YouTube. The radio stuff is really easy, so fast. I know there might be side effects, but I’ll worry about those if they happen, no point borrowing trouble before it comes.  Just a base line this time, to pinpoint and tattoo the point they aim at. Tiny blue tattooed dots, like Phoebe’s Earth tattoo in friends. I’ve named mine Pat, PJ & Conal, I like to give things names.

Straight out of that appt and a sprint back home to get PJ to rowing. Made it, just. He got to try short oars, his disability means he rows with his trunk and arms, his legs don’t straighten or have much strength. This did mean that he struggled to clear his knees with regular oars as his legs don’t straighten enough..hang on, they might be called blades, I’m not 100% sure on that. Anyway, short oars mean he doesn’t have that problem. He wants his own short oars/blades. They’re not cheap so I said he can have one for his birthday and one for his Christmas, apparently I’m not funny. I just hope rowing kit is kept in the boat house. With 3 sports wheelchairs, one day chair, the basket ball hoop, the gym equipment, we’re out of space. Any more ‘kit’ and we’ll be getting rid of the sofas and watching tv from wheelchairs and weight benches. A para version of The Simpsons.

Cogs doesn’t start rowing until the holidays, he just wanted a Subway. I was happy to go along with that. His legs work so I won’t have to worry about para kit, just his love of stinky Subway sandwiches, they really do smell rank.

It feels so good to have completed another part of treatment, and that normal life is coming to the fore again. The journey isn’t over yet, but we’re keeping going. Just like everyone cheering at a marathon tells you to do, and from mile 13-21 I’m just thinking “what the fuck do you think I’m doing”. Grumpy cow.

Maybe one day I will run a sub-4 marathon. If I can do this, maybe I’m tougher than I thought.

You miss them when they’re gone

I’m 48. Hairs had started to appear where they should not, my chin seemed to be a favourite spot. Well, it was, chemo helped there. If they grow back red and curly whilst my head hair does not, I want to know who I write a strongly worded letter to.

I wasn’t fussed one way or the other about nose hair, who gives nose hair a second thought? We should give nose hair more credit, it’s a vital part in the fight against pollen. I’ve only ever suffered from hayfever when running, usually past those great big, white, flowery, weed things. Those and carpet shops, I can’t breathe in carpet shops. We have wood floors, I can breathe in Wickes. Anyway, I have hayfever, “by dose dubbn’t work . I bought a nasal spray which promised to repel the nasty pollen and allow the oxygen to flow. DO NOT EVER SQUIRT ANYTHING UP YOUR NOSE IF YOU HAVE NO NOSE HAIR. You’ve all experienced a brain freeze? This was a brain sting. Don’t do it, just be a mouth breather and make your peace with that.

I saw the Dr about the next step of treatment today. He was either a radiographer or a radiologist, I can’t remember which. He was very patient, he wanted me to start treatment 4 weeks after my last chemo session (It’s on Wednesday for anyone who hasn’t been paying attention – do try to keep up). I had to explain that whilst I’m totally on board with any treatment which will let me hang onto this mortal coil…August is a bit busy. I could see his eyebrows rising (damned insensitive given my lack of those tools of communication). He was very kind and moved forward as far as I could make him. The only slight problem is I’m going to pitch up for one session dressed for a wedding, and turn up the following day probably looking a bit green and possibly carrying a bucket. It’ll give them something to talk about.

I do want to clear up something I’ve been asked many times. Scans. The tool by which treatment is deemed a success, or not. Have you had a scan? What do the scans show? Is it working? I’ve never had a scan, or been offered one. I didn’t think much of it, the cancer was removed when they did the mastectomy, chemo and radio is the ‘mopping up’. Maybe it’s because I’m nearing the end of chemo (did I mention that?) but lately the lack of a scan has kept popping into my mind. Had they forgotten to scan me? That could happen, couldn’t it? I called my oncologist, she and every other person involved in my care, surgeon, MacMillan nurses, chemo nurses, have always called me back on the day I’ve called them. I asked why I hadn’t had a scan, it seems to be an expected part of treatment from many  I’ve spoken to, granted not many of those have had breast cancer but most of us know someone who has. She explained that it’s not something they do when a patient is being treated for early stage breast cancer (in our NHS Trust, it may vary across the country). They would be quick to scan if I reported any symptoms, such as persistent pain or discomfort, but not until then. I almost called her back an hour later as I’d developed persistent pain AND discomfort in at least 15 areas. This is why I don’t ask for too much info and have a terrible habit of singing LA-LA-LA in my head whilst possible side effects are given to me. If I know about them, I’ll convince myself I have them.

Diagnosis, treatment, diagnostic tools…they are individual to each patient. There will be similarities but each case is dealt with on it’s own merits. If you find yourself on this journey, and I hope you don’t, ask questions as much as it suits you and don’t worry about what anyone else is doing. If you have a team you are confident in, trust their judgement on what will work best for you. In my experience every Dr and nurse I have spoken to has been more than happy to discuss what is happening at length. I’ve never felt rushed, or dismissed, the time spent has been driven by me.  Ask what you want to know, stop them before they freak the hell out of you.

Other than all that it’s been a busy week. Pat has been on a stag do to Cork, he and his stinky bag of washing are back. He had a most excellent time and enjoyed a well earned break. Apparently they all ended up just watching sport on the telly last night, albeit in a bar. Middle age has caught them all. The hen do is a couple of weeks away, I have to recover fast after chemo on weds, there is wine to be drunk and laughing to be done. I can’t wait.

Pat being away meant I was on basketball taxi duty. I swear my satnav is possessed. There were 3 exits on that bloody roundabout, not 4. I checked on the way home, there was no 4th exit, lying bastard thing. We got to the venue on time, just. But, here’s the real gem of wisdom for this post. If you have a sporty child, and that child doesn’t like if they lose, don’t play as well as they could have…if you’ve got one you know what I’m talking about. The ones you can’t jolly out of it. Stop at Dominoes on the way home and put the pizza box on the seat next to them, don’t suggest they eat it (that won’t go well as they are in a funk and will argue with anything you say) just leave the pizza to work it’s warm bread and melty cheese aroma. They will cave, eat the cheesey carbs, and all will be well again.

 

 

 

 

Sprinting in slow motion

One more to go. One more session of chemo and that’s this bit done with. Just one…so why is it not here already? Why am I still waiting? It’ll make me feel like I’ve been partying too hard for too long (these days that only means until about 1am) so can’t we just stick it in already? Apparently not. I have to wait 3 weeks…remember I said I was growing to hate 3 weeks? I’m past the ‘growing to’ bit. I’m there, glaring at it and throwing every 4 letter word I know at it. Just fucking get here already. I am DONE. I have things to do, to plan, to get on with. There’s a whole life waiting to be lived, a hen weekend (not mine, my schedule isn’t quite that busy). Wheelchair basketball championships to yell myself hoarse at, while Son 1 tells all his friends he is an orphan and he’s never seen that loud Scottish woman before. A wedding. Our holiday. All hanging on me hitting that last session absolutely on time. No delays. Time is moving so fast and so very slow. It is frustrating beyond belief. I downloaded a meditation app to try and chill myself out a bit. I told it to Fuck Off after mere minutes. I’ll give it another blast after #6, now is not the time to find my inner calm. It’s bolted for cover and is refusing to come out from behind the sofa.

Poor Pat. He knows that being still and taking it easy has never been good for me, and therefore him. The office is very busy just now….apparently. Wise man.

I don’t know what’s changed. I think because it’s taking me longer to recover after each session. I don’t like that, I was quite used to the 5 day hangover and then getting on with stuff. The hangover has stretched to around 7 days and even after that I am prone to needing an old-lady-nap during the day. That feels like admitting defeat, which makes me cross. Naps are for under 5’s and over 70’s. I am 48. I am not in nap territory yet, not unless we’re on holiday. Holiday naps are acceptable and enjoyable. Pat thinks I am insane, I don’t think he ever gave up his toddler naps though. At least he’s napping quietly now we have found A CURE for his snoring. Plastic plugs up his nose. You’d think that’d stop all breathing (and after 15 years of trying to sleep with my fingers in my ears that didn’t worry me as much as it should) but it doesn’t. A gentle rasp is all we hear now. The dogs are worried, they check on him often , but I think they’re happy too.

Chemo hangovers come with cravings, that was a bit of a shocker. Mini poppadoms. That’s all I wanted to eat. It was like the Hula Hoop and Haribo pregnancy cravings, one for each pregnancy not both at the same time. That would have been weird. Someone needs to make all spouses, partners, significant others, friends, family and everyone connected with a person going through chemo that their cravings are every bit as important as those of a pregnant lady. Coming home and saying “They didn’t have any” or worse, “I forgot”, is not acceptable. There will be consequences and they will be going back out again, to as many shops as it takes. They will not be coming home again without poppadoms.  If a person on chemo tells you they fancy something, don’t turn up at their door without that thing in your hand. They’ll cry, or they’ll make you cry. Either way it won’t go well.

Other weirdness this time included sore toenails. All ten of them were in more discomfort than they were after I made them run a marathon with me. What chemical weirdness makes your toenails hurt? Any why only this time? Is each lot of chemo directed at a different part of your body? We’ve done head, shoulders and knees so this time it was toes? What the hell is #6 going to do?

The good news is my hair appears to be peeking above the parapet and braving a return. It’s very fine and fluffy, so much so I didn’t realise it was there until I looked in the mirror and squawked at my head…I have a 3 o’clock shadow. It’s not coming in red which is a bit sad, but I am very glad to see it in any colour. It’s looking a bit white… I look like the oldest Rugrat in town.